Gun Run­ner gets se­ri­ous

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Mary Ram­pellini

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Gun Run­ner was among a hand­ful of horses putting in fi­nal works at Oak­lawn Park on Mon­day for a rich hol­i­day card on Pres­i­dents Day, breez­ing a bul­let five fur­longs in 59.80 sec­onds. Gun Run­ner is set to launch his sea­son in the Grade 3, $500,000 Ra­zor­back Hand­i­cap, while some oth­ers drilling Mon­day were prep­ping for the Grade 3, $500,000 South­west.

Gun Run­ner last raced Nov. 25, win­ning the Grade 1 Clark Hand­i­cap by 2 3/4 lengths and push­ing his earn­ings to more than $2 mil­lion. The win capped an out­stand­ing 3-yearold sea­son for Gun Run­ner, who won the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby be­fore fin­ish­ing third in both the Ken­tucky Derby and Travers.

“I think he’s do­ing ex­tremely well, and it’s time for him to get started,” said Steve As­mussen, who trains Gun Run­ner for Winchell Thor­ough­breds and Three Chim­neys Farm.

With tem­per­a­tures in the 50s and on a fast track, Gun Run­ner worked by him­self in the sec­ond set Mon­day. Ar­kan­sas state clocker Jim Hamil­ton caught Gun Run­ner in frac­tions of 12.80 sec­onds for his open­ing eighth of a mile, 25.20 for the first quar­ter, 37.60 for three­eighths, and gal­lop­ing out six fur­longs in 1:11.80. Hamil­ton had Gun Run­ner’s fi­nal quar­ter in 22.20.

“We let him do some­thing to­day,” As­mussen said. “He’s a week out from the race. He’s go­ing up against older horses that have been run­ning. We’ve got to hit the ground run­ning.”

Florent Ger­oux has the mount in the Ra­zor­back, ac­cord­ing to As­mussen.

Also work­ing Mon­day for the Ra­zor­back was Shot­gun Kow­boy, a Grade 3 win­ner and earner of $800,000 who worked a half-mile by him­self in 48.80. He is com­ing off an al­lowance win at Oak­lawn.

The Ra­zor­back closed with 31 nom­i­na­tions. The weights for the race were to be re­leased Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to Oak­lawn rac­ing sec­re­tary Pat Pope. En­tries for the Ra­zor­back and the South­west will be taken Fri­day.

Pope said Oak­lawn will put on a 10-race card next Mon­day for Pres­i­dents Day. The track will also have a 10-race card Satur­day, topped by the Grade 3, $150,000 Bayakoa.

Sev­eral work for South­west

Lookin At Lee, who in his last start was fourth in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita, was among a hand­ful of prob­a­bles for the South­west Stakes to work at Oak­lawn on Mon­day. The South­west will be run here on Pres­i­dents Day next Mon­day.

Lookin At Lee went a halfmile in 50.20, with clock­ers get­ting his fi­nal quar­ter in 23.80 and catch­ing him gal­lop­ing out five-eighths in 1:02.60.

Petrov, who was sec­ond in last month’s $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oak­lawn, went in com­pany with an­other horse, cov­er­ing five-eighths in 1:00. Oak­lawn clock­ers had his fi­nal quar­ter in 22.80 and had him gal­lop­ing out six fur­longs in 1:13.

Chief Know It All, an al­lowance win­ner who is pos­si­ble for the South­west, went a half-mile in com­pany in 48.80 sec­onds, with clock­ers get­ting his fi­nal quar­ter in 23.40 and catch­ing him gal­lop­ing out five-eighths in 1:01.20.

Rowdy the War­rior, who was third in the Smarty Jones, went a half-mile by him­self in 49.40, with a fi­nal quar­ter in 23.20. Trainer Don­nie Von Hemel said Rowdy the War­rior is prob­a­ble for the South­west.

“He just went an easy half, just a nice lit­tle half,” said Von Hemel.

Vazquez to serve 3-day ban

Jockey Ra­mon Vazquez, who is tied atop the Oak­lawn stand­ings with Ri­cardo San­tana Jr., will be­gin a three-day sus­pen­sion Satur­day for a rid­ing in­frac­tion, ac­cord­ing to a ste­wards’ rul­ing.

Vazquez had ap­pealed the sus­pen­sion, which was for “mak­ing con­tact with his hand to the head of a ri­val horse” on Jan. 21, the ste­wards said. The Ar­kan­sas Rac­ing Com­mis­sion heard his case Satur­day and up­held the de­ci­sion of the ste­wards. An at­tor­ney for Vazquez said the rider would not ap­peal to the courts. Vazquez has led the stand­ings for much of the meet and has 22 wins from 89 starts head­ing into Thurs­day’s card.

Also at the com­mis­sion meet­ing, the panel unan­i­mously passed an emer­gency rule con­cern­ing the to­tal dis­solved car­bon diox­ide thresh­old level, which will now be 37.0 mil­limoles per liter of blood plasma in all cases. Some rules pro­vided for higher thresh­old lev­els for horses who com­pete on Lasix. The change brings Ar­kan­sas in line with national stan­dards, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony given at the meet­ing Satur­day. The rule goes into ef­fect im­me­di­ately, ac­cord­ing to com­mis­sion at­tor­ney By­ron Free­land.

The panel on Satur­day also wel­comed a new com­mis­sioner, Butch Rice, who is an owner, breeder, and the pres­i­dent of Stal­lion Trans­porta­tion Group. Rice said his ap­point­ment is for five years.

◗ Jockey Alex Birzer en­ters Thurs­day’s card with 2,995 Thor­ough­bred wins in North Amer­ica.

COADY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Gun Run­ner will make his first start of 2017 in the Ra­zor­back.

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